WikiLeaks suspends publishing

Julian Assange says that the organisation will focus on fighting a financial blockade.

Short of funds and the victim of a financial blockade, WikiLeaks is to suspend publishing operations. Announcing the decision at a press conference at the Frontline Club earlier today, Julian Assange said that the site planned to focus on raising new funds. He revealed that "an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade" by the Bank of America, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Western Union had destroyed 95 per cent of WikiLeaks' revenues. He added that if it was not lifted by the new year the organisation would "simply not be able to continue". Donations to the site were running at €100,000 a month in 2010, but had dropped to a monthly figure of €6,000 to €7,000 this year.

In a statement, WikiLeaks said:

The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency.

The US government itself found that there were no lawful grounds to add WikiLeaks to a US financial blockade. But the blockade of WikiLeaks by politicised US finance companies continues regardless.

Earlier this year, Assange appeared at a New Statesman/Frontline Club debate on whistleblowing. You can watch his speech in full here.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Exclusive: Labour MEPs call for Jeremy Corbyn to resign as leader

Letter demands Corbyn's departure and attacks his office for "promoting" the work of the Leave campaign. 

Labour's MEPs have called for Jeremy Corbyn to resign in the latest challenge to his leadership. In a letter sent to Corbyn and leaked to the New Statesman, Glenis Willmott, the chair of the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP), wrote: "We find it hard to see how any Labour leader can continue in that role if they do not have the support of their MPs." Corbyn yesterday lost a no confidence vote among the Parliamentary Labour Party by 176 to 40. The letter also attacked the leader's office for an "official Labour briefing document" which "promoted the work of Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart for the Leave campaign."

The demand for Corbyn's resignation is described by sources as the "majority position" of Labour's 20 MEPs. Their stance could prove crucial if the leader is not automatically included in any new contest (a matter of legal dispute) and is required to seek 50 nominations from MP/MEPs (20 per cent of the total). 

The letter reads: 

"The European Parliamentary Labour Party met today for its first meeting since the referendum and concluded that we should send you this letter today.

"The EPLP has always striven to have a loyal and constructive relationship with our party leader, and we have worked hard to cooperate with you over recent months. However, we have very serious concerns in the light of Labour's defeat in the referendum campaign.

"Responsiblity for the UK leaving the EU lies with David Cameron. That being said, we were simply astounded that on Friday morning, as news of the result sank in, an official Labour briefing document promoted the work of Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart for the Leave campaign.

"Labour's loyal and dedicated teams of activists had just spent weeks on the doorstep and on street-stalls making the case to remain in the EU and countering leave campaign arguments. Yet you and your office authorised a briefing that put the whole Labour campaign on a par with two Labour politicians who had been appearing for weeks alongside right-wing politicians, such as Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

"Separate from the referendum issue, it has become clear in recent days that you do not have the confidence of the Parliamentary Labour Party. We find it hard to see how many Labour leader can continue in that role if they do not have the support of their MPs.

"So it it with a heavy heart that we urge you, for the sake of the Labour Party and for the people in our country who need a Labour government, to reconsider your position as Labour leader."

Yours sincerely,

Glenis Wilmott MEP

On behalf of the European Parliamentary Labour Party 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.